Accepting limits (Jennifer R. Hubbard)

There’s plenty of advice out there about overcoming limits that are unfair, arbitrary, or illusory. We are challenged to hurdle them, or push against them, or circumvent them. To prove we have what it takes, to keep reaching for the dream. Reaching for goals we’re not completely sure we can reach keeps us growing.

And yet there’s another side to the story of limits. Sometimes we reach a limit whose best purpose is to send us in another direction.

I reach limits with my writing all the time. This novel ran out of steam. There’s nowhere else to send that short story; time to put it aside. I may have exhausted this genre; time to try another. I can’t write this story now. I can’t fix this book.

I reach limits with book promotion. I can’t handle the travel for that event. I don’t have the energy. I cannot add one more thing to my plate. I love that event but I’ve already been there three times and I have nothing new. This event is never going to take my application. Is this swag really worth the money and trouble?

I can tell when acceptance, rather than forging ahead, is the right approach for a given limit. If the thought of acceptance fills me with relief, it’s time to stop knocking on the closed door and turn my attention elsewhere.

I can always try again later. Many of my successful stories were those that I gave up on for a while, returning years later with new experiences and insights and skills under my belt.

And I can try something different right now. There are open doors, as I discover when I step back from the closed one.


  1. I think this might be the first post this month that addresses promotion. I agree--you SHOULD take serious stock of your money and time and set definite limits on the spending of both.

    1. It's easy to get sucked into the belief that we have to do everything ... until we realize the list can be endless if we don't set limits!

  2. My husband -- way back when we first met -- taught me a trick to make decisions. Flip a coin. If you are happy with the outcome -- or if you aren't -- you know what the right call is. When you said, "If the thought of acceptance fills me with relief..." it made me think of this. Sometimes we KNOW what the right choice is, but we don't want to admit it. It's good to be reminded that it's okay to accept "no".

    1. That "gut check" is a great thing to remember--and I like the coin-flip idea because it gets us one step closer to knowing what we really want.


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